Movie Review: 'Emily The Criminal'

John Thomas

The job interview is going well until Emily (Audrey Plaza) is asked about her criminal record. Yes, she admits to being pulled over by the police for a DUI after a college party – she drove because she was the most sober of her group. The offense was later deemed a misdemeanor. Not an acceptable candidate – sorry.

Her second interview doesn’t fare much better. When asked about dropping out of college her senior year, she explains she left to care for her ailing grandmother. The interview gets worse when told the position is an unpaid apprenticeship. Emily argues with the woman interviewing her and eventually stomps out of the office.

Her dream of being free of her staggering student loan, returning to her love of painting and living in South America must remain a dream. Her current job is delivering bundles of food for a catering service. The pay is barely enough to cover her daily expenses, she needs more income - steady or otherwise.

One of her colleagues mentions a friend who operates a “slightly illegal” business and is always looking for new workers. She’s interested, so is given directions to the job site.

She knocks on the white door of a remote warehouse. The door is answered by Youcef (Theo Rossi). There are about a dozen people sitting in front of a table waiting to hear the sales pitch.

Youcef stands before the group and announces what he is proposing is illegal but lucrative - a credit card scam. “If anyone is not comfortable with this, we understand and you can leave,” he says to the group. Some do leave.

To those who remain, he explains, “We’ll print you a fake driver’s license and fictitious credit card. All you have to do is make a purchase, take the goods to us in the parking lot and receive your $200.”

Emily is curious enough, so that her new credit card and driver’s license are prepared. The next day she is driven to a huge retail outlet and purchases a big screen TV. She rolls the TV to the waiting van, where it’s loaded in the back and she is handed an envelope containing $200.

If she is still interested, there is another more complex job with a $2,000 bonus waiting for her tomorrow. She’s there the next day. This scam involves the purchase of a BMW just brought up from Mexico. The one caveat to the deal is an eight-minute time limit. If the transaction is not completed in that time frame, there will be dire consequences.

Ten minutes after initiating the transaction, Emily roars out of the parking lot with the new BMW – and a bloody nose. Youcef is there to take the car and comfort her. He too, has a dream – his is to own property.

He drives her to a fourplex he is renovating. They share dinner that evening and eventually a bed. Her assignments are providing her with a flood of cash, as they do for Youcef. As their savings grow, so do their plans for a life together.

Youcef’s colleagues, however, have other plans for him and sadly for them Emily’s interference is not part of the plot. Only for some, dreams do come true.

Directed by John Patton Ford (Credits: “Patrol,” “Shadow Man”), “Emily the Criminal” runs 93 minutes and is a “should see” for its social commentary.


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